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Oil and Gas Roundup — Sept. 12

September 12, 2016
TOPICS: In the news
A roundup of oil and natural gas industry news from around the state, nation and world:

U.S. rig count up as state count falls

The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma fell by four to 62 at the end of the week, while the national count jumped 11 to 508, according to Baker Hughes.

Oil-seeking rigs numbered 414 in the U.S., up seven, and rigs exploring for natural gas gained four to 92.

Of the other major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained four to 245, Louisiana jumped eight to 43, North Dakota was flat at 28, New Mexico lost two to 28, and Pennsylvania and Colorado were flat at 21 and 19, respectively.

The national count has increased in 10 of the past 11 weeks.

Canada’s rig count continued to fall to 134, down three from the past week and 51 down from a year ago.

Year-over-year, the U.S. rig count is down 340 rigs from 848, with oil rigs down 238 and gas rigs down 104, and miscellaneous up two.

More than two-thirds of the rigs added over the past two months are located in the Permian basin.


Five things to know about induced seismicity after Pawnee earthquake

This week’s coverage of the Pawnee, Okla., earthquake was the latest example of a troublesome trend: More often than not, the media continues to get it wrong when it comes to reporting on the issue of induced seismicity.

Whether this frustrating pattern is due to a deliberate mischaracterization of the facts — namely, using of the word “fracking” as a catchall, bogeyman term encompassing all things oil and gas related — or if an honest lack of understanding of the issue is to blame, the unfortunate byproduct in both instances is a misinformed public.

So in an attempt to counter to the countless misleading headlines and media accounts of this past Labor Day weekend’s earthquake in Oklahoma, here are five things everyone needs to know about induced seismicity that many media outlets have failed to convey.

Fact #1: Fracking is not the cause — Contrary to what you might have read in the local paper this week, the hydraulic fracturing process is not the cause of Oklahoma’s earthquakes, or induced seismicity in general. Expert after expert agree with this fact.

Read more at Energy In Depth.


Senate, House leaders meet on energy bill

Congressional efforts to approve the first major energy bill in nearly a decade got a jump-start Thursday as lawmakers convened a long-delayed meeting aimed at finding a bipartisan agreement.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, acknowledged that the election-year bill faces long odds but urged her colleagues to "prove the skeptics wrong" and "succeed where so many anticipate we'll fail."

Murkowski chairs the Senate Energy Committee and is among nearly 50 lawmakers from both parties who serve on a joint House-Senate panel tasked with developing an energy bill. The panel met for the first time Thursday after several months of delays.

Prospects for the energy bill have dimmed amid partisan disputes over oil drilling, water for drought-stricken California and potential rollback of protections for the gray wolf and other wildlife, among other issues.

A bill approved by the Republican-controlled House includes at least seven proposals that the White House strongly opposes or has threatened to veto.

Still, Murkowski and other lawmakers said they hope to get a compromise measure to the president's desk by the end of the year.

Read more at AP.


New dragon ships ‘create virtual pipeline across the Atlantic’

Nearly 200 yards long, the first of the new fleet of so-called dragon-class ships have begun shipping ethane derived from Texas shale gas to feed Europe’s struggling petrochemical sector.

The United States’ shale gas revolution created an oversupply of ethane despite a bevy of new chemical plants built along the Gulf Coast. Houston-based Enterprise Products Partners teamed with Switzerland-based Ineos to ship a lot of that excess ethane to plants in Europe and Asia.

Enterprise built the world’s largest ethane export terminal in Morgan’s Point and Ineos commissioned the construction of eight, long-but-lean ethane cargo ships. They were built in China and sport narrow, flowing frames reminiscent of Chinese dragon imagery.

The first of the ships, the Ineos Intrepid, left the Houston Ship Channel on Sept. 1 with its maiden shipment, 265,000 barrels bound for Norway. The ship also will carry ethane to facilities in Grangemouth, Scotland. In large lettering along its hull, the Intrepid touts “Shale gas for progress.”

The ships are designed long but thin so they can carry a lot of cargo but still squeeze into tight waterways. The engines can run on ethane as well.

— FuelFix.


France’s Total buys bigger piece of Barnett Shale

French oil major Total SA is taking full control of the Barnett Shale oil-and-gas leases in Texas that it shared with joint-venture partner Chesapeake Energy Corp. , after the U.S. shale producer decided to exit the once-prolific gas field to shore up its finances.

Total said on Friday it is exercising rights to acquire a 75% share in the Barnett Shale assets to become the sole owner and operator of 215,000 partially developed acres of the field near Fort Worth in North Texas.

The move follows Chesapeake’s agreement last month to pay $334 million to Williams Partners LP to get out of its pipeline contract with the pipeline operator in the Barnett Shale formation. At the time, Chesapeake said it was transferring its interests in the fields to Saddle Barnett Resources LLC, a private equity-backed company based in Dallas.

Total, which is pre-empting Saddle’s deal, said its U.S. exploration and production unit will add $420 million to what Williams is receiving to achieve “a fully restructured, competitive gas-gathering agreement,” in addition to paying $138 million to be released from three other contracts.

The company said it expects to complete the deal in the fourth quarter, subject to “third-party consent of the arrangement.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.


Iran says it will increase output, ignoring Russia-Saudi oil deal

Major oil producer Iran has said it will increase its own oil output to pre-sanctions levels in the next few months, shrugging off the deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to stabilize oil markets.

The National Iranian Oil Company's (NIOC) director for international affairs told CNBC on Wednesday that Iran's oil output had reached 3.8 million barrels per day and that it would increase production.

"Our current rate of production is slightly over 3.8 million barrels per day and before sanctions we were over 4 million," said NIOC's Seyed Mohsen Ghamsari, who was speaking at a petroleum conference in Singapore hosted by S&P Global Platts.

"And as everyone knows in the market, we are soon going to introduce new crude oil to the market by the end of the year, (that means increasing output) by at least 300,000 barrels a day so it means that we can match (our pre-sanction) production in two or three months,"

Read more at CNBC.
 
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